Ambassadors Theatre, London
Written by Paul Unwin
Directed by Angus Jackson
The Enfield Haunting at the Ambassador’s Theatre is Paul Unwin’s dramatisation of a 1970’s turn of events that saw a north London family home beset by an apparent poltergeist.
The play is an ambitious project that appears to have experienced poltergeists of its own in its development from rehearsals through to press night. The programme advertises a running time of 90 minutes (it’s actually a one-act 75) with at least one character listed on the cast list who mysteriously fails to appear in the final on-stage version. Curious indeed…
That being said, the short-ish play is a fair piece of hokum. Catherine Tate leads the line as Peggy, a strong, principled matriarch to two teenage daughters and a younger son and now separated from her abusive husband. David Threlfall plays alongside her as the elderly ghostbuster Maurice, appearing to be a slimy suburban sleazeball but in fact a man with a troubling secret. In a script that’s frequently flawed, both Tate and Threlfall turn in fine performances.
Credit too to Ella Schrey-Yeats as Peggy’s daughter Janet making her West End debut and responsible for a fair few of the evening’s jumps. The rest of the frights could be scarier, with the usually talented Paul Kieve who’s responsible for the show’s illusions delivering mostly low-voltage shocks.
Tate fans will not be disappointed, with the two leads transforming mediocrity into a modestly entertaining evening. Elsewhere, The Enfield Haunting screams out for some paranormal enhancement.
Runs until 2nd March
Photo credit: Marc Brenner